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The follow up to Kitten Sanctuary, Clockwork Pixels’ Puppy Sanctuary is a fun, quirky little puzzle game that tasks players with rescuing a number of unique puppies from a group of nasty invading aliens.
The game combines a number of conventions from other genres; in order to save the puppies, players must engage in a Bejeweled-style gem-matching puzzle with a few gameplay twists that keep the solving challenging, yet interesting. After freeing the puppies, they’ll be transported to a little safe sanctuary, where a they interact with each other and players can engage them with toys, food, and decorations, stealing a page from pet simulators such as Nintendogs and even the infamous Giga Pets from the 90’s.
Special levels engage players in more puzzles of various types, be it searching for items in an environment or matching gems with rules and limits as they attempt to gather more in-game currency to treat their newly-rescued puppies. The mix of gameplay elements is interesting and surprising, bu sometimes feels a little too jumbled, like the game is trying to do a little too much. Not annoyingly so, as the game is very enjoyable and works well. It simply feels that it lacks a specific identity due to its vast gameplay variations.
Difficulty modes are easily adjustable as well, allowing for players of all types to find their match, be it fast-paced, timed puzzle solving or easygoing, calm matching.
A single in-app purchase unlocks the entire game, and any add-ons and items used in gameplay are bought using in-game currency, a nice departure from the conventions of similar games riddled with pointless in-app purchases.
With great music, fluid animations, and satisfying puzzle solving, the game’s presentation is fantastic, especially considering it is a mobile title. Color is used liberally, and the aesthetics are a cute and endearing treat to jump headfirst into, helping to create a lighthearted and fun world with a surprising amount of depth for the smaller gaming device.
Overall, Puppy Sanctuary is a great little game with the potential to appeal to many different casual gamers. Kids will enjoy taking care of the puppies they rescue, adults will enjoy the puzzle elements, and those looking for a nice, casual brain tease with satisfying gameplay will find themselves captivated by Puppy Sanctuary. Despite its inability to settle on one identifying genre, the small title is fairly ambitious, achieving most of the goals it seeks out. It’s fun, it’s cute, and it’ll keep you more than entertained as you sit down for your casual gaming fix.